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Lady Gaga Asks Fans to Donate to Lupus Research in Honor of Her Aunt Joanne

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Lady Gaga is asking for her “Little Monsters’” help in fighting the disease her album’s namesake struggled with.

The singer posted a sneak peak video of a new piano version of her song “Joanne,” which is a tribute to her aunt Joanne who died from complications of lupus at 19 years old. She also urged fans to donate to the Lupus Research Alliance in her memory.

“The Lupus Research Alliance is receiving a donation in honor of Joanne Stefani Germanotta. Please consider a donation to this tremendous organization,” she wrote.

The Lupus Research Alliance responded on social media with a link to their donation page. When filling out the donation form, you can select “Make this a tribute donation” and write Joanne’s name.

“Our tremendous thanks go to Lady Gaga, her father Joe Germanotta and the entire Germanotta family for their ongoing support of the Lupus Research Alliance and the lupus cause,” Kenneth M. Farber, President and CEO of the Lupus Research Alliance, told The Mighty. “We are so grateful to Lady Gaga for encouraging fans to contribute to lupus research in honor of Joanne who died of lupus at just 19. When we fund the most promising new studies, it is to develop better treatments and a cure so young people like Joanne can look toward a bright future.”

Gaga has been open about how Joanne influenced her, though she died before Gaga was born. Her latest album is called “Joanne” and she has described Joanne’s death as the “center of the pain” in her family.

She told V magazine in August:

It’s a terrible autoimmune disease. [Joanne] died in 1974, but they had no idea why she died. They didn’t know what it was. And so when she was really, really ill, she had these lesions on her hands and the doctors wanted to take her hands off. She was a painter, and she did needlepoint and crochet, and she was a writer and a poet. As Joanne neared death, my grandmother said, ‘I can’t let my daughter’s last moments on this earth be without her hands.’ The spirit of Joanne is very much alive within my family. My dad has a restaurant called Joanne, and for me, personally, it means I must live every day as if it was my last. Catholic guilt. It’s those stories, those classic stories, that made me tough.

Her Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” included a scene in which Gaga played the song “Joanne” for her grandmother (Joanne’s mother). “We’ll just play it, and if we get upset, we don’t have to talk about it,” Gaga says. But after listening, her grandmother responded, “That’s a beautiful piece.”

When “Joanne” was nominated for a Grammy for best pop vocal album, Gaga honored her aunt’s memory, explaining that her struggle with lupus got her through a lot of pain.

Gaga has also recently opened up about her own chronic illness — she revealed she has fibromyalgia in September and canceled several concerts due to her pain. “Gaga: Five Foot Two” included scenes of her at a doctor’s appointment and struggling through a pain flare, which she said she wanted to include so others dealing with similar challenges know that showing pain doesn’t make you “weak.”

“My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is. So I hope people watching it who do struggle with chronic pain know that they’re not alone. It’s freeing for me… and I want people that struggle with it to hear me,” Gaga said.

Image via Creative Commons/GabboT

Originally published: January 25, 2018
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